Monday, August 11, 2014

Vesper Sparrow

This rather handsome Vesper Sparrow watched John Holden and me as we drove up a road in Dakota County, Minnesota, on 30 July 2014. I have seen many Vesper Sparrows, but I can not say that I previously noticed the strong dark line surrounding the cheek (auricular) feathers. My identification book, however, assures me this mark is an identifying feature of this species.

Vesper Sparrows are found in shrub-laced, grassy fields and in cultivation. The scientific name of this species is Pooecetes gramineus, which means “grass-inhabiting lover of grass.” If you look closely, you might see a trace of chestnut on this bird’s shoulder. An older name for the bird is Bay-winged Sparrow.

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